Denver: Six Days, Four Hotel Stays and the Never Fun Goodbye
The best part of Colorado: Everything
The worst part of Colorado: Leaving
It’s true. Every time I travel to Colorado, it has the same profound effect on me. I’m extremely excited at my arrival, more so than that kid in a candy store that everyone talks about, and then an intense sense of sadness arises when it’s time to leave.
During this last trip, I flew into Denver (to watch my Houston Texans beat up on the Broncos), spent a few days in the vibrant downtown area and then drove to Beaver Creek to check out the quaint little ski town I’d heard so much about. I experienced great weather (much colder than those Houston temperatures I’ve grown accustomed to), delicious food, multiple glasses of Chandon, and above average service throughout. Here is a brief look at my six days, highlighting my hotel stays.
Hotel 1 – The Oxford, Denver
Named one of the “Top 50 U.S. Hotels” for 2011 by Conde Nast Traveler, this hotel, which opened its doors in October 1891, is the oldest hotel in all of Denver and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the heart of Denver’s LoDo (Lower Downtown), the central location of The Oxford can’t be beat. Just one block from Union Train Station, three blocks from Coors Field, eight blocks from the Denver Convention Center and one block for the famous 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, no matter what you come to Denver for, staying here will ensure you catch a little bit of everything.
Featuring 80 guest rooms (and one Presidential Suite), the hotel boasts a level of history that is not seen in many other places. The grand lobby is complete with antiques and other elegant furnishings and is the only hotel in the city with a fully functioning wood-burning fireplace. Something tells me that fireplace comes in handy during the winter months.
The Oxford offers a 24-hour complimentary car service to drive guests around town (within a two-mile radius). This was particularly nice during a few rain spells as well as saved quite a bit on cab fare. I utilized the car service to drop me off at Snooze (a delicious breakfast spot) and then later to take me within a block of Sports Authority Field at Mile High a few hours before kickoff.
1600 17th Street | Denver, CO 80202 | 303.628.5400 | www.theoxfordhotel.com
Hotel 2 – The Curtis Hotel (a Doubletree Hotel), Denver
Any place I can travel where an out of town happy hour is more than just happy is indeed my kind of place. Speaking of happy hour, The Corner Office (the hotel’s onsite restaurant and bar is located on the corner of Curtis Street) has one of the best. For starters, they have $5 “vino by the vaso” which also includes champagne. For food, you must try the $3 sliders (the pork belly slider is a MUST – confit pork belly, sweet soy, nori, and japanese mustard). The other sliders include a pimento cheese slider and a cheeseburger slider (Tillamook cheddar, pickle, super sauce on a brioche bun). The hours: Sun to Tues 3-6PM AND 9-11PM and Wed-Sat: 3-6PM AND 9-12AM. It can’t be beat.
The moment you step in off the streets of downtown Denver and into the Curtis Hotel, you are quickly immersed “in the best of pop-culture and a one-of-a-kind hotel experience”, complete with board games and trendy mags on one side and a posh modern lobby on the other. This quirky hotel just fit me. Their motto of “where smiling is contagious” is truly more than just a string of words.
Need more proof it’s all things pop-culture rolled into one featherweight pillow? Order a wake up call from Elvis or Austin Powers! That’ll start your day oh-so-groovy baby.
1405 Curtis Street | Denver, CO 80202 | 303.571.0300 | www.thecurtis.com
Hotel 3 – The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon | Beaver Creek
Quietly nestled in the little town of Avon (not a far drive from the village of Beaver Creek), the property is one of the most robust I’ve seen. It stands to reason with its residential ambiance, the 230 guest residences have every amenity you could imagine all within arm’s length. The best thing about this Westin property is the Athletic Club, which just underwent a million dollar expansion, including The Pilates Studio, The Cycling Studio and The Movement Studio to help guests stay active on vacation. The Athletic Club offers group classes (such as cycling, bootcamp, TRX, outdoor climbing camp, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, snowshoe tours and much more) as well as private classes to help focus on more one-on-one needs. The property also provides instant mountaintop access via their Riverfront Express Gondola, which is a plus for any and every ski bum.
Be sure to check out The Market – the onsite grab-n-go shop featuring gourmet coffees, juices, fresh fruit, bagels & pastries, soups & salads, and so much more (including a S’mores kit to roast in your own fire). Cima, the onsite restaurant with internationally acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval at the helm, focuses on serving fresh market produce, sustainable seafood and locally raised meats in each dish.
The hotel publishes the “Riverfront Insider” for guests each week, which includes a list of all activities (adult and kid-friendly ones) as well as spa discounts and an updated fitness schedule – one of the most encompassing pieces of literature a hotel can provide. It’s no wonder the Westin Riverfront was named #2 U.S. Resort for 2011 by Conde Nast Traveler.
126 Riverfront Lane | Avon, CO 81620 | 970.790.6000 |www.westinriverfrontbeavercreek.com
Hotel 4 – Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek
The 190-room resort is one of the premier locations at the heart of one of Colorado’s most celebrated mountain resorts with ski-in and ski-out access to 146 runs on Beaver Creek Mountain.
8100 (the onsite restaurant/bar) was by far the most enjoyable dining experience I’ve had while on this Colorado adventure. The service was top-notch but what really impressed me was the locally sustained food, which was something you could taste (and appreciate) in every single bite. Who would have thought carrot soup could taste so good?
This beautiful chateau-style Vail resort rests upon 1,805 acres of skiable terrain on Beaver Creek Mountain (ranging from a plethora of easy green trails to many rougher patches of more advanced trails). The resort also features Camp Hyatt and baby-sitting services for those traveling with kids who may just want a night to themselves.
Check out the complimentary s’mores happy hour offered by PHBC for all village guests each night from 7-8PM in the back at one of their massive fire pits. Great conversations, drinks from inside and messy roasted goodness while overlooking the beauty of Beaver Creek – could life get any better?
136 East Thomas Place | Avon, CO 81620 | 970.949.1234 | www.beavercreek.hyatt.com
Note: you can now fly nonstop to Beaver Creek/Vail from many locations including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark and New York/Kennedy. Visit FlyVail.com for more info.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Houston focusing on travel writing and is in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Be sure to follow Jayme’s travel and sports adventures on Twitter @jaymelamm.